Today was a typical day where we live, in San Ramon de Alajuela in Costa Rica’s western Central Valley. My husband, Paul, who is a morning person, woke to mostly clear skies at 5:30 a.m., fed our two cats, and ate breakfast.
Costa Rica has long been a popular retirement destination, and a favorite among International Living readers. Its affordability, laidback lifestyle, and wonderful scenery continue to draw in huge numbers of expats from the U.S. and beyond.
It’s evening on the Cais da Ribeira, the waterfront quay. The lights from the many cafés cast a golden glow into the night. Lights gleam golden, too, across the broad expanse of the bridge spanning the Douro River, whose waters, black in the darkness, flow just past the Cais to the sea.
At dawn I wake up to the sounds of the active toucans and howler monkeys being near our house in Costa Rica. I truly love it here: the people, the relaxed approach to life, and the spectacular natural beauty.
It was a steamy night in Florida six years ago when I sat in front of the air conditioner reading articles in International Living about people who had relocated internationally and were now living their dreams…“happily ever after.”
Back in 1993, Fred, an Oklahoma native, took a teaching post in Cochabamba, which is now one of Bolivia’s most popular retirement destinations. He returned as a retiree 10 years ago and has lived here ever since with his wife Elizabeth, enjoying its highly affordable lifestyle.
My friend Marie, from the Washington, DC area, recently emailed me: Could I offer her advice on having dental work done in Costa Rica? She’d already heard a lot about living in Costa Rica from me.
Food is cheap—and very tasty. Rents are affordable even for those on super-low budgets—$200 to $400 gets you a nice place in a great neighborhood. The climate is comfortable…the people friendly…there are modern services…and the vibrant mix of music, festivals, indigenous culture, and colonial history is evident everywhere you turn. It should be an option for anyone considering a retirement in Latin America.
When I was young, just out of college, my life goal was to see as much of the world as I could. I wanted to find out what made other cultures tick; what they ate…how they celebrated their rites of passage…a little about their languages…and their overall philosophy and world views.
Belize is a charming little country with one foot planted in the Caribbean, the other in Central America. In addition to an abundance of natural beauty, the offshore World Heritage Mesoamerican barrier reef, and a multitude of Maya ruins, Belize offers expats an outstanding residence program for retirees. Another plus, English is the country’s primary language. For these reasons—and others—an increasing number of expats are moving to this laidback, democratic country.